Russia To Close Parts Of Black Sea Near Crimea For Six Months
Russia's Defense Ministry put out a statement that they plan to close parts of the Black Sea around Crimea for six months to hold out 'military maneuvers', while NATO says that prohibiting Ukraine's ability to freely navigate is both "unjustified" and "destabilizing" and bringing condemnation from both the Ukraine and the European Union.
Secretary General Of NATO Jens Stoltenberg stated, "Russia’s ongoing militarization of Crimea, the Black Sea, and the Sea of Azov are further threats to Ukraine’s independence, and undermine the stability of the broader region. We call on Russia to de-escalate immediately, stop its pattern of provocations, and respect its international commitments."
The statement from the Russian Defense Ministry outlines their plans to shut down parts of the Black Sea to all foreign ships from the month of April to the end of October, 2021 to carry out navy drills stating "From 21:00 on April 24 until 21:00 on October 31, passage through the territorial sea of the Russian Federation for foreign military ships and other state vessels will be halted".
Cutting off passage through the Black Sea would potentially cut the Ukraine off from access to the sea of Azov, to which the Ukraine responded that the move was an "usurpation of the sovereign rights of Ukraine."
In a statement put out by NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization stated, "We are concerned by reports that Russia plans to restrict access to parts of the Black Sea and the Kerch Strait. This would be an unjustified move, and part of a broader pattern of destabilizing behavior by Russia. We call on Russia to ensure free access to Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov, and allow freedom of navigation."